A quizzical kiwi follows readers through Opie's vibrantly illustrated exploration of bird types and attributes. Fantastical compilations of birds common and rare, depicted with great care and painterly realism, are shown roosting, nesting, wading, and flying, interleaved with spreads showing arrays of eggs, beaks, and bird feet. Opie uses clear text in rhythmic patterns punctuated by line breaks to articulate the essence of birdness--"All birds have feathers./ All birds have wings./ All birds have beaks"--punctuated by Kiwi's plaintive, "But what about me?" It builds, of course, to a discussion of kiwis: "The kiwi has no tail,/ but has whiskers like a cat." It's a captivating display of diversity: "And all the birds/ in this book.../ are part of the same feathered family!/ 'Even me,' said Kiwi./ Yes, even Kiwi." Back matter includes a key identifying every bird that appears in the book and on the cover. Ages 4-8. (June)Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 4--Birds in all their incredible variety throughout the world are introduced with primary-colored illustrations and a fast-moving narrative. The story's pace is paused by its "guide"--a young kiwi with brown feathers who wonders how he fits into this vast community. He asks, "What about me?" amid the brilliant reds, blues, yellows, and purples on display. But the little kiwi with no tail, furlike feathers, and tiny hidden wings learns that he is indeed a member of this enormous family. The text compares avian qualities to familiar people, places, and things ("an ostrich can stand taller than the tallest basketball player"; a hummingbird egg is about the size of a jelly bean) to help readers visualize these birds. Every bird pictured illustrates their beaks, eggs, sizes, nests, etc., and is identified in a two-page note from author and illustrator Opie. A separate summary, "More About the Kiwi," identifies the "star" of the book as the brown kiwi, found only in New Zealand. VERDICT Highly recommended. The sparkling and informative text and crisp, clear illustrations highlight a wide variety of birds while creating a sense of belonging for the plain kiwi and anyone else who might feel different.--Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County P.L., VACopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.